Groups of students pound their feet on the hard plastic bleachers, shouting the name of their university each time the ball connects with a player’s arms. “J-B-U!” shout dozens of blue and yellow painted faces. Welcome to the Eagle’s Nest.
The Eagle’s Nest is the new name of the John Brown University student section that began when sophomore Coby Dolloff felt that something was missing from home sporting events. He observed the excitement at the Toilet Paper basketball game and the First Friday Futbol games and began thinking of a way to bring that energy into every home game all season long.
“I would love it if we had a school culture where people came out to all of the games,” Dolloff said. He approached the Athletic Director Robyn Daugherty with ideas about generating more student involvement during games. She loved the idea, and offered him a work study position planning theme nights and T-shirt giveaways.
“There’s no part of the student population that really represents a school, I would say, as much as the athletes do.” Dolloff said. “They’re going all around the country with the JBU logo on their chest. They represent us. We should be supporting them.” Other early members of the group include sophomore Nate Brown and junior Nathan Acuña. Brown helped organize his high school student section and said he was excited for the opportunity to support JBU.
“Obviously it can be fun to go to sporting events, but when you stop and think about it, for the players that means so much when you show up and support them because you know they’re putting in so much extra work on top of all the schoolwork they’re doing,” Brown said. “I think it just means so much to them when you show up and actually are excited about it.”
Acuña began supporting JBU athletics early, trying to raise more support for athletics during his freshman and sophomore years by going to as many games as he could and bringing as many people with him as possible.
“I think it’s very important to support our student athletes,” Acuña said. “I think we’re very good at supporting arts programs here, but not the athletic programs.” Acuña said he thinks the Eagle’s Nest is a start in the right direction when it comes to maintaining and promoting a student section at games.
Acuña plays club rugby and can testify to the importance of fan involvement in the games. “Having the support there and hearing your fans is a game changer,” he said. “When you hear the crowd roaring—or you get even five people to cheer really good—it gets that flow going.”
Megan Beck, a junior volleyball player, said she is very excited about the energy the Eagle’s Nest brings to home games. “Our first home game was unbelievably hype,” she said. “It was the most fun I’ve had with a crowd in Bill George Arena (BGA) since I have been at JBU.”
“Volleyball is such a mental sport,” Beck said. “When you have a crowd to back you up and bring the energy, it makes the game that much more fun to play.”
Acuña echoed the importance of keeping energy high throughout the entire game. “If you don’t like to scream, just clap along. If you like to scream, then this is the place to be.”
“You can get free stuff, you can meet people and it’s just a fun atmosphere when everyone’s dressed up and we’re all doing chants,” Dolloff said. “I don’t think there’s anything that brings the student body together like than those kind of things.” More information about upcoming theme nights is available on the Eagle nest Instagram page, “@jbu_eagles_nest,” and Dolloff encourages all students to join in by supporting JBU athletics.
“I’m super thankful for our up-and-coming student section,” Beck said. “I hope the leaders of the Eagle’s Nest make a lasting impression so that the fans continue to come.”